N.J. town give residents tax break for spending locally
One town in New Jersey is trying a little economic stimulus of its own. The residents of Marlboro can now get a break on their property tax bill if they infuse the township’s economy by spending locally.
Spending locally feed local economy
A local economy is like the national one in that it is fed by consumer spending. The mayor or Marlboro, N.J., Jonathan Hornik, knows that full well. “The only way we help the local economy is if we spend our local tax dollars,” Hornik told reporters.
“Every local elected official has to do their part to help us get out of this recession and help local businesses,” Hornik continued. “We’re doing our part, which we hope will increase the number of customers coming to these establishments.”
How it works
Participants in the program are issued reward cards by the local financial company FinCorp, and the local Investors Bank. There are around 40 local merchants participating in the program. When residents shop at one of those establishments, a portion of the bill is recorded on the card to count against their property tax obligation. How much depends on the merchant, who take a hit when discounting the transactions. Hopefully, however, they gain more customers out of the gesture of community-spirited goodwill. So far, the participating merchants are kicking in anywhere from two to 16 percent from transactions.
Mayor Hornik explained. “I have a card in my wallet, and say I have a $100 bill at a store. With a 10 percent break, the retailer will make sure 10 of those dollars are a credit on my tax bill.”
So far, a successful experiment
Since the “Shop Marlboro Campaign” launched last September, 1,200 of the town’s 40,000 residents have signed on, making about 130,000 transactions and shaving about $8,000 off of their local tax property bills.
The program is changing the way some residents shop. One local, Lynn Franco, told a CBS local news affiliate in New York, “I used to use a dry cleaner somewhere else and now I use one that’s in Marlboro so that I can get the rebate on my taxes.”
“I think it’s a success and I think it will continue to be a success,” said Mayor Hornik
Hornik says it is the first program of its kind anywhere. Perhaps, if it continues to be successful, other communities, townships and municipalities will follow suit, improving the economy one town at a time.